Wayne County Public Library


Romich Foundation provided a grant in 2012 to add solar panels to the new bookmobile.


Wayne bookmobile loaded with bells and whistles

By LINDA HALLStaff Writer Published: October 21, 2012 4:00AM
WOOSTER -- The library's two full-time bookmobile drivers are pleased with the new bookmobile's assets, right down to housekeeping details.

"We have a solid surface floor," instead of carpeting, said John Michaels.

"Instead of trying to (vacuum) the dirtiest hallway in the world," he said, personnel can sweep it out with a broom at any of its stops.

Michaels and Gary Farner lobbed compliments back and forth across the new Wayne County Public Library bookmobile, which sports a green and purple exterior.

"We really like our countertops," Michaels said, which don't get worn out as did the Formica counters in the former vehicle.

"Peace and quiet" are Farner's favorite aspects of the bookmobile, long anticipated by library staff members.

It's quiet because of the way it is powered, described by library Director Jennifer Shatzer as "a hybrid/smart generator power system that manages stored energy," "roof-mounted solar panels funded by the Romich Foundation," and "an eight-battery bank that recharges and stores energy from three sources."

"We don't have the rumbling of the generator," Farner said, noting, patrons "stop and listen" to the comparative noiselessness of the new vehicle.

"We're saving energy and the environment," he pointed out. "We can go all day like this."

"I really like the LED (lighting)," Michaels said.

Other infrastructure components highlighted were the power roof vents and fuel efficiency of the bookmobile.

Carpeting at the base of the bookshelves aesthetically covers up diesel fuel heaters, which burn diesel fuel "a lot slower than a generator would," Michaels said.

Overall, the new model gets "almost double the fuel economy (than the older model), a combination of not having to run the generator and a little more efficient engine," he said. "It runs like a new vehicle should. That's what we were looking for."

Instead of two doors, this bookmobile has just one, located in the middle rather than at each end.

It actually makes for better traffic flow and fewer bottlenecks, according to Michaels, adding, "Bookmobiles in general have gone to a single door."

That's important, given the patronage among whom about 1,000 items are circulated per day.

"It keeps increasing," Farner said.

"It just continues to get busier and busier," affirmed Michaels.

Three staff members travel to bookmobile destinations -- one handling discharge and two checkout, Michaels said.

The bookmobile branch in general, which includes a 2003 Bluebird, has a staff of two full-time drivers, one part-time driver/assistant and four additional assistants.

Manager Patti Stevic is in charge of the entire department.

"(The new bookmobile) is an adjustment," Farner said.

"We're all just getting settled in," said Michaels, who also noted, "Every bookmobile is custom-built (to specifications)."

"We thoroughly enjoy it," Farner said.

Reporter Linda Hall can be reached at 330-264-1125, Ext. 2230, or lhall@the-daily-record.com.


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